The FAA has issued an STC (supplemental type certificate) to FACC for its Passenger Luggage Space Upgrade. The upgrade has been developed by the EASA Part 21 J Design Organisation of FACC and is designed to increase baggage volume in overhead bins by 67%. The upgrade will be made available to airlines as a retrofit for the A320 aircraft family, and this FAA STC will enable the Austrian aerospace group to further increase its aftermarket service activities in the USA market.
“The FAA’s STC clearly opens up new opportunities for operators of A318, A319, A320 and A321 aircraft,” commented Robert Machtlinger, CEO of FACC. “In order to save both money and time, more and more passengers are opting to travel with hand luggage only. As a technology partner to the aerospace industry, FACC is responding to this trend by now also offering American airlines in addition to European airlines a retrofit package that offers more luggage stowage space.”
The STC, issued by the FAA on 13 November 2019, is based on the EASA STC approval issued earlier this year, which entitled FACC to carry out significant modifications to aircraft using a component developed by its design organisation. By equipping overhead stowage compartments with larger doors, FACC says it is able to increase the stowage space for hand luggage by more than two-thirds in the classic cabins of the A320 aircraft family. As a launch customer, Austrian Airlines had already completed the FACC cabin upgrade on three Airbus A320s by February 2019.
The modified overhead stowage compartments can now fit up to five hand luggage cases instead of just three, while the newly designed cabin doors offer airlines a wide range of customisation and branding options.
“Passengers appreciate simpler and more convenient handling, along with shorter boarding times, while aircraft operators see a big advantage in the smoother boarding process and a reduced workload for the cabin crew in addition to the more modern appearance. Additional benefits include shorter boarding times, fewer delays and, as a result, cost savings during flight operations,” added Christian Mundigler, VP of FACC Aftermarket Services.
Aircraft retrofits can either be performed by the airlines themselves or by external maintenance companies, with FACC accompanying the initial installation process within the framework of a training programme. Depending on the type of aircraft, the installation takes between seven and nine hours, so it can be carried out “overnight”.